Somers details her call for overhaul or elimination of CMEEC

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, called Tuesday for “a complete overhaul” or elimination of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, the agency rocked last week by federal indictments of five top managers and board members.

“These indictments make clear that what I’ve feared is true — CMEEC is an organization that has lost its way,” Somers said in a statement. “Since CMEEC is a creation of the legislature, I’m asking the Energy and Technology Committee to take a closer look at the entire CMEEC statute to clarify its role and include much more substantial controls and reporting requirements on this nonprofit, public agency.”

The CMEEC officials face multiple theft and conspiracy charges in connection with lavish trips the agency hosted to the Kentucky Derby and to The Greenbrier, a White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., resort.

Somers said she will ask the energy committee to draft legislation limiting CMEEC’s business model and instituting oversight of the agency on behalf of the ratepayers. She called for measures that would:

• Make all CMEEC documents, including agreements and contracts, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, without redaction, once such agreements and contracts are executed

• Require that CMEEC’s budget and rates be reviewed and approved by the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority at least once every two years

• Make the state attorney general and state Office of Consumer Counsel parties to CMEEC rate cases

• Require that any “margin” revenues exceeding power supply obligations be returned directly to every member municipal utility annually

• Temporarily freeze CMEEC’s ability to invest in projects until all past projects have undergone thorough audits and no fiduciary mismanagement is found

• Eliminate CMEEC’s ability to bill any customer for costs that exceed the actual cost to provide such products and services

• Eliminate CMEEC’s ability to supply power or otherwise provide services to entities outside its members’ municipal utility service territories

• Limit CMEEC’s role to that of a power procurement agency, removing all other functions and business enterprises.

CMEEC is owned by Norwich Public Utilities, Groton Utilities, Bozrah Light & Power, Jewett City Department of Public Utilities and two utilities in Norwalk.

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